From the FMCSA: 5 possible updates to hours-of-service regulations



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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released the long-awaited Hours-of-Service (HOS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Below is a summary of the five highlights and our take on the possible changes.

Short-haul exception

Existing rule Proposed change
Short-haul drivers can operate within a 100 air-mile radius for up to 12 hours. Short-haul drivers can operate within a 150 air-mile radius for up to 14 hours.

Our take

This new rule would make it easier to apply the short-haul exception and allow more drivers to not use ELDs.

The Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

Existing rule Proposed change
Only driving time can be extended to make up for encountering adverse conditions. The on-duty clock can be extended from 14 to 16 hours to make up for encountering adverse conditions.

Our take

The proposed rule would allow for more time flexibility in case of adverse weather conditions. The FMCSA is still developing the criteria for what conditions constitute “adverse weather.”

30-minute break rule

Existing rule Proposed change
Drivers must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of duty time Drivers must take a 30-minute break after 8 continuous hours of drive time
The 30-minute break must be completely off-duty. The 30-minute break can be on-duty, not-driving.

Our take

Drivers who don’t drive for 8 continuous hours would no longer need to take a 30-minute break. Drivers could also use their breaks to refuel, or count their time at shippers or receivers toward the 30 minutes.

Split sleeper-berth rule

Existing rule Proposed change
Drivers can split their 10 hours off duty into two periods: one of at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, and another of at least 2 consecutive hours either off-duty or in the sleeper berth. Drivers can split their 10 hours off-duty into two periods: one of at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, and another of at least 2 consecutive hours either off-duty or in the sleeper berth.
The 2-hour period affects the 14-hour on-duty period. Neither period affects the 14-hour on-duty period.

Our take

Drivers would have more freedom in deciding how to spend their off-duty time. While drivers would still need to spend at least 10 hours off-duty, 8 hours in the sleeper berth would no longer required. Because the two off-duty periods would not count against the 14-hour on-duty period, many debates on how to factor sleeper-use into HoS calculations would be remedied.

Pause the clock rule

Existing rule Proposed change
Drivers cannot pause their 14-hour on-duty clock. Drivers can pause their 14-hour on-duty clock once a day, for up to 3 hours.

Our take

Spurred by an Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) petition, this change would allow drivers to pause their on-duty clock to account for waiting-out rush hour traffic, delays at shippers or receivers, or other scenarios that prevent drivers from making the most of their on-duty time.

Learn more and be heard.

You have a voice in the decisions. Visit regulations.gov for more information the proposed changes and how to submit your comment.

About Zonar

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